Cape Town - The Sharks made it two wins out of two in the Currie Cup but were made to work as they edged the Cheetahs 33-29 in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
A brace of tries from Chiliboy Ralepelle and further five-pointers by Lwazi Mvovo, Wian Vosloo and Daniel du Preez helped the Sharks secure the result but the Cheetahs were in the contest until late on.
The visitors made a terrific start and after taking the ball through several phases, Marius Louw found himself in space inside the Cheetahs' 22 before offloading to Mvovo, who crossed for the opening try in the 14th minute.
The Sharks dominated the possession and territorial stakes but had nothing to show for that dominance and that proved costly as the home side opened their account in the 23rd minute when Louis Fouche took a tap penalty on the visitors' five-metre line before barging over for a deserved try.
Shortly afterwards, the Cheetahs took the lead when Lloyd Greeff crossed for their second try after running onto a well-timed pass from Fouche deep inside the Sharks' 22.
The Sharks struck back in the 37th minute when Ralepelle crossed for their second try - off the back of a lineout drive close to the Cheetahs' try-line - before Fouche added a penalty which gave the Cheetahs a 15-12 lead.
That did not deter the visitors though and on the stroke of half-time they scored another try from a maul at a lineout deep inside Cheetahs territory and this time it was Vosloo who dotted down under a mass of bodies.
Robert du Preez added the extras which gave the Sharks a slender 19-15 lead at half-time.
The Sharks continued to set up mauls off lineouts when they were close to their opponents' tryline and five minutes into the second half that tactic yielded reward again when Ralepelle crossed for his second try.
Du Preez's conversion gave the Sharks a 26-15 lead but the Cheetahs soon narrowed the gap when Fouche went over from close quarters after running onto a well-timed pass from Rudy Paige.
The Sharks eventually regained the initiative in the 68th minute when Daniel du Preez dotted down after running onto an inside pass from Curwin Bosch but despite holding a 33-22 lead, the visitors still looked vulnerable on defence.
Two minutes before full-time, the Cheetahs were awarded a penalty try after the Sharks illegally halted a maul close to their tryline with the guilty party Khutha Mchunu also sent to the sin bin for his indiscretion.
Despite having a numerical advantage, there was too little time left for the home side to add to their points tally in a bid to secure the win.
FS Cheetahs 29 (15)
Tries: Louis Fouche (2), Lloyd Greeff, Penalty Try
Conversions: Fouche (2)
Drop goal: Fouche
Sharks 33 (12)
Tries: Lwazi Mvovo, Chiliboy Ralepelle (2), Wihan Vosloo, Dan du Preez
Conversions: Robert du Preez (4)
15 Adriaan Carelse, 14 Ali Mgijima, 13 Carel-Jan Coetzee, 12 Tersius Kruger, 11 Lloyd Greeff, 10 Louis Fouce, 9 Rudy Paige (captain), 8 Niell Jordaan, 7 Gerhard Olivier, 6 Stephan Malan, 5 Dennis Visser, 4 Louis Conradie, 3 Gunther Janse van Vuuren, 2 Reinach Venter, 1 Kevin Stevens
Substitutes: 16 Jannes Snyman, 17 Johan Kotze, 18 Luigi van Jaarsveld, 19 Abongile Nonkontwana, 20 Dian Badenhorst, 21 Vuyani Maqina, 22 Reinhart Erwee
15 Curwin Bosch, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Jeremy Ward, 12 Marius Louw, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Tyler Paul, 6 Wian Vosloo, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 Gideon Koegelenberg, 3 John-Hubert Meyer, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle (captain), 1 Juan Schoeman
Substitues: 16 Kerron van Vuuren, 17 Khutha Mchunu, 18 Andrew Evans, 19 Luke Stringer, 20 Cameron Wright, 21 Johan Deysel, 22 Aphelele Fassi